What is discernment?

JVC encourages its prospective volunteers use the discernment process to determine if JVC is a match for them. Discernment is the prayerful and intentional seeking of God’s call in one’s life. St. Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits, was a key person in forming the Christian concept of discernment. Ignatius suggested that if we want to know what God might be calling us to do, we can make use of our imagination in prayer to explore options. People practicing Ignatian discernment will spend some time, preferably some time each day, in prayer using a method and guiding questions similar to the methods shared on this page! Prospective Jesuit Volunteers are always welcome to reach out to a member of the admissions team should they have any other questions during their discernment process at admissions@jesuitvolunteers.org

What are some methods of discernment?

If you're looking to deepen your discernment process, here are a few methods and topics to ponder. Have a whole day to yourself with nothing planned? How about setting some time aside to have a mini discernment retreat with yourself?! Look deeper into your: attachments, expectations, and freedoms. You might just walk away with your choice about whether or not JVC is a match for you at this time! See below for a full download of a mini-discernment retreat:

Ready to embark on your own personal discernment retreat?

Download our discernment retreat document here!


What do our alumni say?

Former Jesuit Volunteers go on to do amazing things, ignited by their time as volunteers. They brought their passion and resolve, and JVC helped them put it to work for life.

“JVC gives you the opportunity to truly live through your service and be genuinely affected by the new life you lead. While I was involved in community service organizations in college, JVC took my passion a step further: service was more than an activity, it became a way of life. Because of JVC, I had the opportunity to actively love and be loved by everyone I met and I'll be forever grateful for that experience.”
Beth Strader
(Los Angeles 2014-15) / George Washington University
“Applying to JVC is the best decision I could have made for myself. JVC exposes you firsthand to structural injustices in our society and allows you to gain a sense of awareness in a way that is unparalleled. The program will provide you a perspective that will be relevant no matter your future aspirations and a community of which you will always be a part!”
Anthony Russo
(Berkeley, 2014-15) / College of the Holy Cross
“I found true happiness in JVC. I helped others, discovered things about myself, and realized that friends come and go like waves of the ocean, but the true ones stay. Community members are there for life, they are not going anywhere.”
Laura Giannotti
(Raleigh, 2013-14; Los Angeles 2014-15) / Emmanuel College
“My JVC experience informs my identity and has challenged me to interact with the world in a more meaningful way. In JVC, I had the rare opportunity to embrace a simple lifestyle in community, and I formed lasting relationships with people who enriched my experience. I never imagined the challenges I would face, the immense love I would feel, and the lifelong gifts I would receive from my clients, coworkers, and community.”
Caroline Starr
(San Francisco, 2014-15) / Spring Hill College
“You should apply to JVC if you are willing to take a risk and do the unexpected. I chose to spend a year of service in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in order to understand the hardships that so many of our neighbors face every day -- and to make a small difference in others' lives. Making the choice to work as a full-time volunteer, live simply, and be part of an intentional community is no small task, but it is absolutely worth doing. You should apply to JVC if you want to challenge yourself to grow, change for the better and make an impact.”
Clare Myers
(Santa Clara/San Jose, 2015-16) / University of Dallas
“I explored the tenets of community, social justice, spirituality and simple living in college, but it was my time in JVC when they came together. There was something about the life experience that integrated these tenets, and they continue to shape who I am.“
John Green
(Portland, ME 1994-95) / Widener University
“I applied to JVC looking for an opportunity to learn how to engage meaningfully in social justice work, throw myself into a new city and culture, and figure out what it meant to truly live out the principles that guide my life. JVC provided all of that, but more so it ultimately transformed how and why I interact with every person I know. Through my time in JVC, both at my placement and living in community, I discovered how I better want to live out my faith in this world, worked through what it means to live a life of radical love and unflagging compassion, and found a family of incredible individuals that at first I may not have expected to share much in common. JVC's four pillars weren't just guidelines for my year of service; they've become an integral part of how I choose to live intentionally in this world every day.”
Mariah Byrne
(San Diego 2014-15) / Georgetown University
“You will grow. Whether that's in your faith, professionalism, humility, empathy or another part of your character, I cannot tell you. What I can say is that you will be challenged. You will be challenged and supported through a journey to invest in yourself and to invest in others. You will be challenged to find your voice knowing that not all languages contain words. You will be challenged to love and be loved in a society that creates its own borders to it. You will be dared to change.“
Taiga Guterres
(Belize 2015-17) / Loyola Marymount University
“I wanted to learn more about myself and other people by seeing through a different lens. JVC has truly changed my way of thinking about society and the problems we face today. My community has a great impact on this. They went from being complete strangers to my second family."
Sheila Kearney
(San Francisco 2014-15) / Iona College
“True power is self-knowledge, self-control, peace in the present moment. JVC can be a vehicle for this liberation; come meet the Spirit there!”
Peter Sanneman
(South Dakota, 2012-14) / Fordham University
“JVC is an opportunity to immerse yourself in a new environment, new city, and new way of living. You learn about yourself and explore issues of faith and social justice all while making lifelong friendships.”
Matt Straface
(Los Angeles 2014-15) / College of the Holy Cross
“JVC was an incredibly formative experience for me. Four of my community members and I have decided to continue living in an intentional community here in Nashville. My experience in JVC has provided me a lense through which I live, work, and advocate for social change that I am eternally grateful for.”
Veronica Dress
(Nashville, 2012-13) / University of Scranton
“If you’re ready to stop learning about injustice through sitting in a classroom and itching to do something about it, apply to JVC.”
Anna Ryan
(Boston, 2014-15) / Saint Joseph’s University

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